Coins of Ceylon.

by Col. B. Lowsley,

1895 Numismatic Chronicle Series III Vol. XV p. 223-247 pl. IX

Colonial Era

19. Specimens of the Portuguese silver coins struck about the time when the native Fish-hook money was in circulation, are very rare. As is the case with all silver coins of Ceylon, these have been broken up for making native silver ornaments. The ``tanga,'' with the Portuguese arms between C-Lo. [Ceylao or Ceylon] on one side, and the gridiron of St. Lawrence with date on the other, in my collection, all bear the date 1640 or 1641. They are of very rough mintage, and must, I think, most certainly have been struck in Ceylon by Portuguese authority.
Other silver coins, the tanga and half-tanga, bearing the Portuguese arms, have on the reverse the monogram and the date 1643 [P1.VIII.12]; they also appear to be of rough colonial mintage.
Coins of the ``Friar'' type (xerafims and half-xerafims), dating from about 1643-1658, have on the obverse the letters G. A. (Goa) on either side of the Portuguese arms, and on the reverse the figure of St. Thomas (the so-called friar) between S. T. [P1.VIII.13]. These coins were struck specially for circulation in Goa, and in the course of commerce found their way into Ceylon. They are quite as roughly struck as those previously mentioned.
I found no Portuguese gold nor copper coins which could have been minted in Ceylon, but one or two came to me which had been imported for currency during the period of Portuguese rule.

20. Gold fanams and the extremely small coins in gold, silver, and copper, weighing less than 7 grains, as used by the Tamils, are still sometimes to be obtained in the pettahs of Colombo and Kandy. There are two or three varieties struck in each metal.
A find of forty-two roughly struck copper coins of four different sizes, all with the elephant upon them, came to me from near Kandy. They appear to be of South Indian mintage rather than of Ceylon.

21. The principal events in the history of Ceylon which may have bearing on the issues of coins are the following :-
545.. B.C. Buddha died.
505. B.C. Panduwara founded the city of Anurádhapura, and from this time there were invasions, conquests, and counter conquests by Cholians, Tamils, and other forces from the adjacent mainland, until the settlement of the Portuguese in Ceylon in 1505.
The Portuguese were turned out by the Dutch in 1658.
The Dutch were conquered by the English in 1796, and Ceylon was made a Crown colony and the first English Governor was appointed on the 12th October, 1798. The Kings of Kandy, however, held local powers for eighteen years later.
At the present day the Kandyan Chiefs attend at a Durbar once or twice a year before the British Governor, and the grant of Native rank rests with the Governor.

22. I pass now to the coinage of the time of the Dutch, whose occupation lasted from 1658 till 1798.
There was little gold currency - a few imported Portuguese, Indian and Dutch coins only - and for the latast years there were imported from India Star Pagcdas of two types.
There was no Ceylon mintage of silver. Rupees of various types found their way over from India, but the current silver coinage came mainly from Holland. The Danish Toif skillings of 1710 seem to have been imported in large quantities; none are known, however, of any other date.
There are the ducatoon, the six-stiver, two-stiver, and stiver, with the arms of Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, or Gelderland, according to place of mintage. On many of these is the monogram VOC standing for Vereenigte Ostindische Compagnie (United East India Company), and all with this monogram were, of course, specially struck for currency in the eastern Dutch possessions; but a large number of Dutch silver coins imported had no such monogram, although issued for currency at the same time as the others. The above-named beautifully executed silver coins are now very rarely to be obtained in Ceylon, having been broken up for makiiig native silver ornaments. They were mainly imported between the years 1700 and 1770. Though all are rare, yet there are degrees of rarity. The ducatoon of Holland without VOC of dates 1757,1761 (2), 1765 (2), and 1775, were met with by me in Ceylon; also six-stiver pieces of Holland of 1724, 1726 (2), and 1730; and two-stiver silver pieces of Holland of 1707 (3), 1710, 1721, 1724, 1725 (2), 1727, 1728 (2), 1729 (3), 1730 (2), 1732 (2), 1755, 1760, 1790, 1791 (2); and one-stiver of Holland of 1726 (2), 1727, 1730, and 1733 (3).
Of the type with VOC like the Holland challies, I met with a two-stiver piece of 1760, and a one-stiver piece of 1758 in silver. Neither had the value marked, and they must, I think, be patterns.
I have small silver betel-nut boxes with top and bottom made of these coins, just as we sometimes find Queen Anne shillings worked into punch-ladles and snuffboxes.
Of Zeeland I collected ducatoons of 1765, 1768, and 1790; six-stiver. pieces of 1725 and 1768; two-stiver pieces of 1683, 1700 (2), 1726, and 1731, and one-stiver pieces of 1681, 1708, 1727, 1731 (2).
Of Gelderland - I found two-stiver pieces - with the arms-of dates 1706, 1785, and. 1789 (2).
Of West Friesland - two-stiver pieces of 1702, 1731, 1759, and 1772, and a one-stiver of 1770.
I met with no silver coin of Utrecht, although the copper coinage of this province is still rather plentiful in Ceylon.
The above dates would doubtless corroborate the Netherland Mint-issue records of the period, to some extent, but silver coins may have been sent out of other dates to meet the usual fate of exported coins when silver was high in price, or of being broken up by native silversmiths for making anklets and bangles.
It will be noted that only three of these silver coins were found by me in Ceylon with the monogram VOC The coinage usually sent there presumably, therefore, cannot have been specially minted for the Dutch East India Company. I find, however, on returning home that these VOC silver coins are met with in the hands of dealers in coins both in the Netherlands and in London,arid I have secured. a good number of various eighteenth-century dates; but of course these cannot be in any way considered as belonging to the Ceylon series, though they were undoubtedly struck for circulation in some Eastern Dutch settlement.

23. The first Dutch copper coinage issued in any quantity. in Ceylon was the well-struck 1/2-stiver of Batavia. This: coin is only of one date, viz., 1644. it is still occasionally met with in the pettahs, but has become rare.
Next: was issued the rough, thick coinage of 2, 1, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 stiver, rudely marked with letters ``St''reversed on each side of the coin. There is no date on any of these, and the 2-stiver and 1/8 stiver pieces are very rare.
I have a specimen of the l-stiver of the above type struck in silver. These coins were current in Ceylon at the beginning of the eighteenth century. They were, I think, of local mintage, but I can find no record. I met also with ``challies,''or ``doits,''and `` haif-challies.''These were minted respectively in or for Holland, Friesland, Zeeland, Gelderland, and Utrecht, and on one side bear the arms of the place of mintage, and on the other the VOC.
The challies usually bear dates from 1726 to 1794, and the first haif-challies are of the date 1749. The following list shows the actual dates which I found on coins in Ceylon




The above-named five provinces of the Netherlands alone issued coins for Ceylon.
Half-challies are found of only three provinces, viz., Holland, Utrecht, and Friesland.
If these coins of other dates than those specified were circulated in Ceylon they must be very rare, as I made every effort to secure specimens of all dates.

24. I obtained in Ceylon but one specimen of the copper ingot 4 3/4 stiver, stamped on both sides with value as stated, and at either end with the monogram VOC under the letter C. The length of it is 2 3/8 inches, and the weight 2 1/6 ounces. These ingots are now of the greatest rarity, and probably nearly all of the few struck have been broken up for brasswork.
There are some copper coins in my collection with the monogram VOC and with Indian, Tamil, or Singhalese characters. They are about the size of the 1/4 stiver, and, though thick, are often very well struck.
I have also specimens of a well-struck 1/4 stiver with obverse VOC under C and reverse 1/4 above ST [P1.VIII.14]. The C above the monogram in this. case doubtless stands for Colombo or Ceylon, but it must not be assumed that it was struck there. There are similar 1/4 stivers with the letter P for Pulicut above the Dutch monogram.
Also I have lead doits or challies of the dates 1789 and 1792, with 0 above the monogram, and a piece in leather which may have been meant for a doit. It has Tamil characters, difficult to decipher, on the reverse.

25. We now come to the thick Dutch copper coins, with dates ranging from 1783 to 1795.
These coins have initial letters above the Dutch TJnited East India Company's monogram of four Ceylon mintages, viz., ``C''for Colombo, ``G''for Galle, ``T''for Trincomalie, and ``I''for Jaffna.
Doubts have at times been expressed as to whether the initials as above really refer to the towns named. I, therefore, resolved to settle this question in a practical way.
At Colombo I found that nearly all coins of this type which I could pick up bore the letter ``C'', and at Galle the letter G. At Trincomalie, on my first visit in September, 1890, I secured every coin to be found in the place; nearly, all bore the ``T,''though one or two had been imported with other initial letters. My collecting here was so exhaustive that though I made my want of coins clearly understood throughout the pettahs, no further coins could be subsequently obtained for me. No one has previously included the Jaffaa mintage in this series, the reason being that the coinages of both Trincomalie and Jaffna are very rarely met with, and that the rough ``I''for Jaffna [P1.VIII.15] has not been hitherto distinguished from the rough ``T''for Trincomalie.

26. Of the four above-named types, viz.,
Obv. - C above monogram VOC
Rev. - 1 STYIVER (and date),
I have of the Colombo mintage in my collection l-stiver pieces of each year from 1783 to 1795. The coins of some of these dates are very rare, and no specimen of dates 1793 and 1794 exists in the Colombo Museum.
There were no 2-stiver pieces nor 1/2 stiver pieces minted for Colombo.

27. For Galle there are 2-stiver and 1-stiver pieces.
Obv. - G above monogram VOC and value under monogram.
Rev. - Date with Sinhala letters below.
The dates in. my collection are, for the 2-stivers, 1783, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1792. All are rare, but perhaps dates 1783 and 1792 least so. The last-named is in the Colombo Museum. I haye a specimen of the 2-stiver piece of date 1783 struck in silver
The 1-stiver of Galle is similar to the 2-stiver piece except for value. I have dates 1783, 1787, 1790, 1792. None are, I think, published.

28. The Trincomalie and Jaffna coins are somewhat similar in general design to those of Galle, but of course with initial T or I above the monogram instead of the G. The workmanship is, however, very much rougher than that of the Galle mint.
Of Trincomalie I have a 2-stiver piece of date 1793, and 1-stiver pieces of dates 1783, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793; and .of Jaffna 2-stiver pieces of dates 1783, 1784, and 1792; and a finely-executed 1-stiver piece of 1792.
All the above are very rare.
The Jaffna thick 2-stiver piece of 1783 is perhaps the best executed of all the series, and may have been minted in India or by Indian workmen employed, in Ceylon.

29. The Dutch coinage for Ceylon ceased in 1795. The English occupation commenced in 1796, and about two or three years later there followed a large importation of the Madras copper coinage of dates 1794 and 1797, the coins of both dates being of values of 48 to the rupee and 96 to the rupee. These well-struck coins are still to be met with in the pettahs. They bear the legend, `` United East India Company,''with date on the obverse.
For silver currency there remained from this time until 1801 the Dutch ducatoons and smaller issues, supplemented by Surat and Sicca rupees and Spanish dollars, the latter being perhaps the most world-wide and popular silver coin of those times.
The gold coins were the Star and Porto-Novo pagodas.

30. I will now try to deal concisely with the coinage arrangements and disarrangements of the year 1801.
Bertolacci, acting Auditor-General of Ceylon, in his work on Ceylon,2 gives very detailed accounts ox the currency troubles for the twenty years preceding the year 1816. It is, however, extremely difficult to follow and verify his record of the numerous changes in weight and. of the relative values of coins then current.
The actual coins, in my opinion, when acquired on the spot, throw far more real light on the state of things than quotations of ordinances and regulations can do, especially as these were often not fully acted upon, and thereby only confuse the investigator.
Down to the year 1801 I find coins were current in the colony, as noted generally in the foregoing paragraphs.
But in the year 1801 it is clear that great attention was being given to the issue of currency proper to the colony now subject to the British Government. In that year pattern coins were made, and I have of these the following :-
The 96-stiver or two rix-dollar silver piece. The three specimens vary somewhat in weight. The workmanship is as rough as in the case of the, copper 4-stiver, 2-stiver, and 1-stiver pieces of the same and following dates.
Captain Tuffnell, in his excellent work on the Coins of Southern India5, refers to the issue of the rough 96-stiver pieces in silver in 1801. I have met with the thick cast silver coins of the dates 1801, 1803, and 1812. The local coinage troubles of each of these dates account for these issues, and for differences in weight and clippings of the thick copper pieces.
The large thin 48-stiver silver piece or rix-dollar. This is of the type of the copper coin figured by Atkins, page 196, No. 66.3 I have never met in Ceylon with a copper coin of this date and type, nor of the dates 1803 and 1804, as mentioned by Atkins.
The copper pieces of 1801, 1803, and 1804 could never have been current but were patterns only. The issue of 1802 is still found in the pettahs, and was widely Current.
The. thin silver coin above alluded to is of the same weight as the thick rough 48-stiver piece, or rix-dollar of 1803 [Atkins, page 193,No.4], though so widely differenb in type from it. The die is very defective, and probably soon broke or was destroyed.

31. The thick silver 96-stiver (or two rix-dollar) ``Ceylon Government''pieces [P1.VIII.16]. I obtained one dated 1801, and this being of light weight had not met the fate of exported coins, or of being broken up, which, on account of the high value of the metal, happened to most of the good silver coinage of that period. I never met with this 96-stiver piece of date 1803 as mentioned by Atkins, p. 192. The pieces dated 1801 and those of 1808 and 1809 are extremely rare. In Ceylon I met with about four specimens only of 1809, and two only of 1808, and none of any other date except 18O1- and a single specimen of very light weight struck in silver with date 1812 and of the type of the copper stiver of English mintage of 1802.
Of the 48-stiver piece or rix-dollar [P1.VIII.17] of the same type as the thick 96-stiver piece, Mr. Rhys Davids gives the dates 1803, 1804, 1808, 1809, 'but only had the one of 1808 in his own collection.
Mr. Atkins adds to the above list one of date 1805.
I obtained all that are here mentioned, and there are two types (both of which I have) of date 1803. I likewise acquired an unpublished specimen dated 1812. According to the Local Records of coinage regulations of that date, the value of the rix-dollar struck at the Island. Mint was fixed at is. 9d., though in the next year the rate of exchange fell sixty per cent.
Such rapid fluctuations, together with the contracts for mintage which were granted, caused great confusion. Authority wasobtained and recorded for coinage which was never actually issued, and some trial pieces were struck or cast and submitted as specimens or patterns.
Of the 24-stiver pieces [P1.VIII.18] Mr. Rhys Davids gives the dates 1803, 1804, 1808.
Mr. Atkins adds the date 1809.
Of these I obtained all except that of 1803, and I also acquired one, of heavy weight, dated 1816-a great year everywhere for coinage in silver.
In addition to the above there is a specimen in the British Museum dated 1805.

32. Thick copper pieces of Ceylon mintage issued between the dates 1801 and 1816 inclusive.
These are of similar mintage to the silver coins described in the last paragraph. They all have on the obverse an elephant with date beneath, and on the reverse CEYLON GOVERNMENT, with figures in the centre to denote the value.
The largest specimens have the number 12 in the centre to show that twelve of them go to a rix-dollar, and thus as there were 48 stivers to a rix-dojiar, each of these thick Copper coins was valued at 4 stivers.
Similarly, those with the number 24 [P1.VIII.19] upon them were 1/24th of a rix-dollar and each worth 2 stivers, and those with 48 [P1.VIII.20] upon them were 1/48th of a rix-dollar and each worth one stiver.
Mr. Atkins in his headings to these coins on pages 194 and 195 is mistaken in calling them 1/12th, &c., of a Rupee. They are, in fact, Rix-Dollars, as above stated-in all this series.
Of the 4-stiver pieces, twelve to a rix-dollar, Mr. Atkins gives the following dates :- 1801, 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1814, 1815.
I have given special attention to this series, and obtained, in duplicate, all the above coins except those of 1806, 1809, and 1810. A perusal of records has convinced me that no copper coins of these three last-named dates were ever current in Ceylon. I have two types or rather different weights of this coin dated 1813.
The dates of issue of the 2-stiver piece of 24 to a rixdollar, given by Mr. Atkins, are 1801, 1802, 1803, 1805, 1809, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1815.
I believe the specimen of 1809 was never issued for circulation, and I never came across one of 1812, but I obtained, in duplicate, specimens of all the other dates mentioned, and in addition specimens in duplicate of the unpublished dates 1814 and 1816, and one of 1803 with the elephant facing to right, as cited by Mr. Atkins for the silver rix-dollar of same date, page 193, No.5.
The dates given by Mr. Atkins for the ``Ceylon Government''Copper stiver, 48 to a rix-dollar, are, 1801, 1802, 1803, 1805, 1806, 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814, 1815.
I am convinced, that those dated 1805, 1806, 1809, 1810, were never issued for currency. I possess all the other dates in duplicate except 1815, of which I have only one specimen. In 1815 there was a supersession of the native copper coinage by a coinage from England - but prior to the arrival of the consignment a few of the thick 1/24th rix-dollar pieces of1816 were struck.
All coins, both silver and copper, of the above-named series are now very difficult to obtain. The intrinsic value of the metal led to their being broken up. I have met with only one date of a copper Coin of this type struck in silver as a pièce de luxe, viz., the 1/24th rix-dollar of 1816.

33. The little Fanam silver tokens, said to have been used to pay labourers during the building of the Baddegama church about the year 1820, were probably struck in Ceylon. They are of neat execution, with Fanam on one side and Token on the other. They are now scarcely ever met with. But respecting this token see below, paragraph 38 of these notes-for though recently issued there is some uncertainty about them.

34. Of the coins for Ceylon, minted in England and actually sent out as currency, the following is, I believe, as complete and correct a record as is now obtainable.
In 1802 there was the thin copper coinage of 48, 96, and 192 to the rix-dollar. The issue of the 96-piece was smaller than those of the other two denominations, and its relief is rather lower, so that this piece is rarely found in good condition. There are also gilt ``proofs''of all three coins to be met with, sometimes (but rarely) in England, but I never saw such proofs in the Colony.
Next in order of. date we come to the great issue from England (the Royal Mint) of the Ceylon copper coinage of the year 1815.
This issue was of the value of 200,000 rix-dollars.
The coins are of the following three denominations :- 2-stivers, 1-stiver, and 1/2 stiver, and, as before stated, 48 .stivers go to the rix-dollar.
The 1-stiver pieces are still very common in Ceylon, the other two are somewhat less common. The design of these is not bad but the relief is poor..
There were also patterns struck in England, in 1815, for a silver rix-dollar, of the same type as the copper stiver of that date.
None of these patterns found their way to Ceylon, but they are occasionally met with in the.. hands of collectors in England.
Ruding4 has a note under date November 14th, 1812, that, ``a silver coinage was Ordered for Ceylon, and authority given that it might be executed in the Island.''It never was so executed, though I havQ patterns of the type of the. thick rix dollar of 1803 (48 stivers) dated 1.8 12.
It should here be. noted that where Ruding states that certain coins were authorised to be struck, it very, often happened that they were never actually supplied, as something more urgeilt cropped up. Sometimes there was a supply, sometimes not.
The type of the English-struck pattern rix-dollar of 1815 was subsequently adopted in the issue of rix-dollars of 1821, an issue for currency which really took place, as will now be noted.

35. The first silver money ever sent from England to Ceylon as current coin was that of rix-dollars of 1821.
Ruding says that, ``On October 19th, 1821, a Treasury Letter of this date orders a coinage for the island of Ceylon to consist of a dollar weighing five pennyweights, eightteen grains and two-thirds, the type being for the obverse the king's head with the legend GEORGIUS IIII D. G. BRITANNIAR. REX F. D., and for the reverse the figure of an elephant with an oak wreath and the words above CEYLON ONE RIX DOLLAR, and the date of the year. The obverse was engraved by Pistrucci, and the reverse by William Wyon.'' In a foot-note Ruding says, ``The amount coined was £400,000.''
Atkins perpetuates Ruding's statement as above. The idea of £400,000 worth of a silver coin being thus issued for Ceylon in one batch is preposterous, and on reference to the Royal Mint authorities they have most courteously given me the information that the value of the issue was £30,000, viz., in 400,000 pieces, called rixdollars, and that the consignment was actually sent out in January, 1822. Thus the value of each of these rixdollars was is. 6d.
The issue of £30,000 worth, however, was so large as to make the coin still somewhat common.

36. The following facts may now be noted :- Since the year 1816 no mintage of any coins for currency has ever taken place within the colony itself, except, of course, tokens struck for local and special use by owners of large coffee and other mills.
Between the years 1821 and 1869 the rupee silver series as obtained from India supplemented the silver rix-dollar of 1821 for currency, and in 1839 £2,000 in fourpences, and in 1842 £5,000 in fourpences supplied from the Royal Mint, England, were added. Thus with rupees, 1/2 rupees, 1/4 rupees, and 1/8 rupees (12 1/2 cents) flowing into Ceylon year by year to the present time, and supplementing and replacing the other coins above mentioned, there is now an ample silver currency. There are no gold coins supplied as currency, and the highest value of any single piece in Ceylon is the rupee.
I should perhaps refer to the bank notes circulated in Ceylon, in the troublous times of the currency in the early part of the present century.
Bertolacci's work gives many details respecting the financial complications which led to the issue of these notes. Amongst others issued there are in the Colombo museum the following :-

Dutch notes for1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 rix-dollars,January 1st, 1796.
Half an English 50 rix-dollar note, No. 1100.
Half an English 50 rix-dollar note, January 1st, 1809.
Half of a 10 rix-dollar note, August 1st, 1812.
Half of a 10 rix-dollar note, May 1st, 1818.
Half of a 5 rix-dollar note, August 1st, 1812.
English 2 rix-dollar note, November 1st, 1826.
English 1 rix-dollar note, no number nor date.

37. It now remains, since no coins were struck in Ceylon between 1816 and 1869, to specify what was imported for currency.
The rupee series has, as above stated, been freely and continuously obtained from India. These coins have no distinctive mint mark nor difference showing that they are for use in Ceylon; they are of the ordinary Indian type.
Owing to the kindness of the Hon. Sir C. W. Fremantle, K.C.B., late Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, I have been given a complete list of all coins issued from the Royal Mint to Ceylon. I append this list, which will be of value to all those who take interest in the coinages of the British Colonies.

``The coinages mentioned in the Mint Records as having been forwarded to Ceylon from the beginning of the century until 1866 are as follows :-


£30,000 (400,000 pieces) in rix-dollarsin January, 1822.
£2,000in fourpencesin 1839.
£5,000in fourpencesin 1842.


200,000 rix.dollars no details,dates of despatch
not recorded.
authorised in 1815.
£1,000 in haif-farthings Sent July, 1828.
£2,000 in haif-farthings
£1,000 in haif-farthings
£1,000 in halfpence
£5,000 no details, 1830.
£571 in haif-farthings in 18S3.
£500 in haif-farthings in 1837.
£500 in farthings
£500 in halfpence
£500 in pence
£1,000 in haif-farthings new designs 1839.
£1,000 in quarter-farthings
£1,000 (no details) also in 1839.
£1,500 in haif-farthings in 1842.
£1,500 in farthings
£1,500 in halfpence
£500 in pence
£5,000 in equal proportions of half-farthings,
farthings, and halfpence
£3,000 in haif-farthings, farthings, halfpence,
and pence, but proportions not given.
£6,049 0s. 3d. paid for Ceylon coin on27th March, 1855.
£10 in quarter-farthings in January, 1857.
£490 in haif-farthings
£1,000 in farthings
£1,500 in halfpence
£3,000 in pence
£6,000 (no details), 1859.

``It should be noted that in most cases the coinages were ordered some considerable time before they were dispatched, so that each individual coin would not necessarily bear the date given.''
The silver coins specified above have almost disappeared. The rix-dollars of 1822 are sometimes met with, and the four-penny pieces also, but not now as currency.
None of the copper issues could have been popular as currency amongst natives. The coins were melted up for brass work. The supply of Dutch challies of the eighteenth century was sufficient for use in the pettahs, and these challies seem to be still preferred by. the natives to the British copper coinage.
It may be interesting here to give the values of current Ceylon coins as laid down by the Royal Proclamation of the 18th day of June, 1869, the Indian rupee currency being thereby confirmed.

The penny at the rate of 2/3 of an anna or 8 pie
The halfpenny at the rate of 1/3 of an anna or 4 pie
The farthing at the rate of 1/6 of an anna or 2 pie
The Ceylon fanam at the rate of 1 anna 12 pie
The Ceylon stiver
or pice at the rate of
1/4 of an anna or 3 pie
The challie at the rate of 1/12 of an anna or 1 pie

``And we do hereby further declare and ordain that from and after the same date, the silver Company' s rupee of India of 180 grains weight and 11/12 ths fineness, as now legally current in India, and its silver subdivisions of proportionate intrinsic value, consisting of the half-rupee (8 annas), the quarter-rupee (4 annas), and the eighth of a rupee (2 annas), shall be the only legal tender of payment (except as hereinbefore directed) within our colony of Ceylon and its dependencies.''

38. There is, I think little doubt that the 1 1/2 pieces, as enumerated by Mr. Atkins, of various dates from 1834 to 1862, should be struck out of the Ceylon series. None are to be met with in the colony, and there is nothing in the Mint records to show that the issues of this coin of the various dates ever took place. The Colombo Museum has no specimen.
As regards this little coin Captain Campbell Tuffnell, in his most useful work after quoting the description and remarks by Mr. Rhys Davids, adds :-
``The, description so exactly corresponds with that of the 1 1/2d. of the Maunday money, that I cannot but think that the specimens alluded to belong to that series or to an issue of this silver piece - still to a certain extent in circulation in Malta - as a fraction of 3d., which sum appears to be the most usual charge for all small commodities and services in Valetta.''
Captain Tuffnell is in error in supposing that this 1 1/2d.. could have belonged to any English Maundy set (as such sets are composed of pieces of value 4c1., 3d., 2d., and 1d. only). The little 1 1/2d. pieces were struck at the Royal Mint, London, for Ceylon, but there is no record that they were ever sent to that colony; and since they are not met with there, believe they were not so sent. The term ``token''is a misnomer for them.
I feel very doubtful whether the small silver Fanam tokens, referred to in paragraph 33, may not have been struck by the Colonial Government, although not specially for the local purpose named in that paragraph.
Under the authority of his Excellency the Governor of Ceylon in council, 16th day of July, 1814, the following Government advertisement was issued :-


Notice is hereby given that from and after Monday, the 25th day of July instant, the Honourable the Treasurer will be authorised to issue silver Fanam tokens in exchange for notes or copper, and the same are hereby declared and published to be current at the rate of 12 Fanam tokens for one rix-dollar, and receivable accordingly at the General Treasury and the several Cutcheries of the Island.
By His Excellency's command.
(Signed) JohN Rodney, Chief Secretary to Government.
``Chief Secretary's Office, Colombo, 16th July, 1814.''

The date proposed for issue seems close on the above advertisement. If tokens were issued upon this authority, it can hardly be that they were other than those referred to in paragraph 33. At any rate no others are known of about that period; and there are papers showing that the weight of these little tokens was below the legalised rate of exchange, in order that the exportation of silver coinage from Ceylon which had become a crying evil might not affect this new coinage, the object of which was to maintain a silver currency of small denominations.

39. With reference to the importation into Ceylon of the copper coins from England, referred to in paragraph 37, I collected all I could still obtain from, the pettahs, and nearly all are in uncirculated state, thus showing that natives would not accept them. As a result of my collecting, I find that the consignments from England must have been composed thus :-
Pennies of dates 1826, 1827, 1887, 1843, 1845, 1846, 1847,1851,1854,1855, 1856, 1859.
Halfpennies of dates 1826, 1827, 1834, 1837, 1838, 1841, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1852, 1853, 1855, 1856, 1858, 1859.
Farthings of dates 1825, 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1834, 1837, 1839, 1841, 1843, 1845, 1846, 1847, 1851, 1853, 1855, 1856, 1858, 1859.
Haif-farthings of dates 1828, 1830, 1887, 1839, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1847, 1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, 1856.
Quarter-farthings of dates 1839, 1851, 1852, 1853.
If details had been preserved of dates on coins sent to Ceylon, I doubt not that the above list would be found correct. I met with a very few stray well-worn English coins of other dates than those given, but with only one coin of each of 8uch dates, and I believe these were brought by English passengers. The coins here referred to are
Halfpennies of 1807 and 1825, and
Farthings of 1834 and 1836.
No one-third-farthings were ever sent to Ceylon. No half-farthing of 1827, as noted by Mr. Atkins, No. 77, was minted for currency. Mr. Atkins makes no mention of the pennies, halfpennies, farthings, and quarter-farthings of the above-named dates having been sent out for currency; but they were thus introduced.6
6 May I be allowed to say that in noting inaccuracies in standard and valuable works as I have done, I fully recognise that the authors were at a disadvantage, because their works were compiled without local investigations. My obligations are great to all the works I have cited for indicating the directions of encjuiry, and any corrections and additions which I now give are tendered with my best thanks fur the hints given me by the more exhaustive works referred to.

40. The following are the dates of silver coins of the rupee series, imported into Ceylon from India, in quantity for currency, up to 1891 :-
Rupees of dates 1835, 1840, 1862, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891.
50-cent pieces of dates 1835, 1840, 1876, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889.
25-cent pieces of dates 1835, 1840, 1874, 1875, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890.
12 1/2-cent pieces of dates 1841, 1862, 1874, 1882, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890.
The above are the dates of rupee coins still found in circulation in Ceylon in sufficient numbers to warrant the belief that they must have been imported for currency. Stray coins of other dates are occasionally met with, but these were probably brought over from India by passengers or else imported in very small numbers indeed.

41. It may here be remarked in retrospect, that under date, Kandy, 26th September, 1836, the Company's rupee, half-rupee, and quarter-rupee were authorised by the Governor to supersede the rix-dollar.
The English-struck rix-dollars of 1821 were, at the time of issue, of the intrinsic value of is. 5 1/4d. ; though imported at value ls. 6d. each.
The 12 1/2-cent silver piece was subsequently added to the original currency which comprised only the three higher denominations, and the four coins now form the silver coinage of Ceylon.

42. Next in order comes the tasteful copper coinage for Ceylon, dated 1870.
Obv. - Crowncd bust to left within a border inscribed VICTORIA QUEEN.
Rev. - CEYLON - FIVE - CENTS. 1870, with a palm-tree and Singhalese inscription.

There are also in this series 1, 1/2 and 1-cent pieces of similar design to the above.
It is to be regretted that the palm-tree was substituted for the time-honoured badge, the elephant; and when a new coinage is designed, it is to be hoped that the old type will be restored.
The above-named coins were struck at the Royal Calcutta Mint, and are of good workmanship.
As the issue was a very large one, and as there then existed ample small change, there was no further mintage for twenty years. In 1890 and 1891, however, coins of the same type and values were again struck.
The copper coinage, as above, dated 1870, was only actually brought into circulation in the year 1872. These coins are of pure copper, and the weight was taken from the English copper penny as current prior to 1860. The 1-cent piece was an imitation of the English farthing, being one-quarter of the 5-cent piece; it should have been but one-fifth to give true intrinsic proportion. The 1/2 cent and 1/4 cent pieces have relation, as regards weight, to the 1-cent piece and not to the 5-cent piece.

# 1 - #18. Lankan Coins

#43. Ceylon Tokens


2 A View of the Agricultural, Commercial and Financial Interests of Ceylon, by Anthony Bertolacci, published by Black, Parbury, and Allen, Leadenhall Street, 1817.

3 The Coins and Tokens qf the Possessions and Colonies of the British Empire, by James Atkins, publisbed by Bernard Quaritch, 15, Piccadilly, 1889.

4 Annals of the coinage of Great Britain andits Dependencies, by the Rev. Rogers Ruding, 1840.

5 Hints to Coin Collecters in Southern India, by Captain R. H. Campbell Tufnell. Government Press, Madras, 1889.